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Sometimes at mediation, a party wants a little more time to think over an offer or proposal. Sometimes a party wants to "sleep on it" and then meet again to resume the negotiations. Sometimes one side or the other may need more time to iron out medical liens, get authority, or resolve other problems before the mediation can continue. Though there is nothing wrong with meeting more than once to conclude mediation, sometimes the logistics of setting multiple meetings can be difficult.

An online mediation, or e-mediation, gives the parties an opportunity to take a little more time to consider an offer and re-evaluate their position, or deal with side issues such as liens or other problems. Negotiation takes place without the time pressure of wrapping it all up in one meeting. An online e-mediation may be conducted over several days, or even weeks.

Online mediation at Westlake Mediation & Arbitration is similar to a mediation conducted in person. Just as in a traditional mediation, the parties send their Mediation Memorandums to the mediator by regular mail. The mediator prepares for the mediation as he usually would.

When he is prepared, he contacts each party by secure e-mail to begin the e-mediation. He invites the plaintiff to make the first offer, and then relays that offer to the defendant by secure e-mail, and invites a counter-offer. The defendant relays the counter-offer to the Mediator, who relays it to the plaintiff. This continues until the case settles or the parties reach an impasse.

At Westlake Mediation & Arbitration, a mediator actively conducts the online mediation, but the e-participation is at the convenience of the parties, who are under no time constraints to respond by pre-set deadlines. However, parties are expected to participate in good faith and avoid unnecessary delays. Of course, the mediator maintains regular contact with the parties to gently remind them that a mediation is underway.

E-mediation, as in traditional mediation, is kept strictly confidential. Just like in a standard mediation, offers and counter-offers are relayed through the mediator, and each side is aware of the other's most recent offer. The mediator will also relay by secure e-mail, other communications, messages, information and positions as authorized by the parties.

The mediator may also contact the parties by phone to discuss their positions, or to suggest alternatives, or for clarification on certain matters, but the negotiation is conducted online through the Mediator by secure e-mail.

Of course, the best part is that online mediation is done at a reduced fee.